Campus undergoes extensive summer upgrades

Plant and Service Operations will have its hands full this summer, as it takes on 20 new projects across campus.

“This is the busiest summer that I ever remember and I’ve been (at plant service operations) for 14 years on campus and around campus for 25 years,” said Phil Gatton, director of Plant and Services Operations.

The total cost of all projects is estimated to cost about $120 million with the cost of the new Student Services building at $36.6 million and the Transportation Education building at $62.8 million.

Gatton said the department will work to complete the two buildings and various maintenence related projects in buildings and the grounds. Gatton said all projects are still in initial construction phases, although some are further along than others.

Members of a crew working on campus construction, Dustin Jones, left, of Carterville, Derrick King, middle, of Vienna, Matt Stanley, right, of Sesser and Eric Hanson, bottom, of Murphysboro, watch as a ditch is dug Tuesday outside the Student Center. Hanson said the workers were in the midst of relocating a water main for the new Student Services building. Jessica Tezak | Daily Egyptian

He said the Transportation Building and grounds projects are to be completed before fall 2012, whereas the Student Services Building’s date is unknown.

The Transportation Education Center, which will be a 200,000 square foot facility, is being created to enhance the learning experience for students in Automotive or Aviation programs. Current facilities in Carterville are behind in comparison to other colleges, however Gatton said the new center will fix that.

“I’m not doing it justice when I say 200,000 square feet … it’s such an upgrade of facilities compared to what’s being used in Carterville right now,” Gatton said.“The technology that’s in the building and the equipment that’s going to be available to the students is going to make it one of the nicest facilities in the country.”

The Student Services Building will be a student-oriented center dedicated to incoming and current students, as well as parents and alumni. Gatton said the objective is to ease students by simplifying the registration process.

The other 18 projects consist of repairs to existing buildings, which will help alleviate current safety issues or problems, and various changes on campus grounds. Examples include fixing the roof on the Mass Communication and Media Arts Building and demolishing the path near Lawson.

Mass Communication and Media Arts Dean Gary Kolb said the repairs to the Mass Communication building’s roof are needed because it has had various leaks during the past few years. Kolb said at one point, the roof leaked over the broadcast master control area. The job is scheduled to be completed Aug. 1.

“We won’t have to worry about ceiling tiles falling down on people, or mold issues that might take place, it’s a huge improvement for us and it’s something that we absolutely, desperately needed,” Kolb said.

Jerry Frisby, a worker from Southern Illinois Glass, said the Life Science II building’s entrance needed repaired because the doors won’t lock at night and water drips down into classrooms.

“Maintenance hated these doors because they were constantly working on them and there wasn’t really any way to repair them,” Frisby said.

Gatton said the money for the projects will come from three different sources.

The first source of funds are Capital projects funded by the state and overseen by the Illinois Capital Development Board, an agency hired by the state to manage the construction of prisons, mental health hospitals, state parks and college and university classroom buildings.

SIUC’s biggest project, the Transportation Education building, will be overseen by these Capital projects.

Another source comes from the $210 Facility Maintenance Fee paid by students each semester. A recent amendment seeks to raise the fee by an additional $7.00, according to a Board of Trustees meeting May 10.

Projects funded by the student fee include the replacement of Lawson and Quigley Hall’s roofs and the primary electrical upgrades the school will see. The Quigley Hall job is set for completion at the end of June.

The last form of funds come from University Department dollars, which includes grants, money from the city or any extra dollars the school has to put into construction. These funds are the most common and come on a yearly basis.

The university also has many projects for the future.

Some plans include renovations to the Mass Communication building, the construction of an Alumni Center and renovations to both the Agricultural and Botany greenhouses on campus.

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About Austin Flynn

Austin Flynn can be reached at or 536-3311 ext.252.

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